As odd as it may sound, many people keep the fact that they are searching for a new job a secret even when they are unemployed. This is a bad idea simply because you never know who is going to hear about a job opening that would be a perfect fit for you. Still, networking has changed drastically over the past few years. In fact, just 5 years ago this would be an entirely different set of hints. In any case, sending out resumes is just not enough.
Tell your friends and former colleagues that you are looking for a new job
You don’t have to go into detail about why. Just be sure that everyone you know is aware of it. Be sure to mention it on your social media sites as well. The world has gotten a great deal smaller in recent years due to the Internet, and letting your online contacts know that you are actively searching for a new job can literally open up an entire world of opportunities.
Attend workshops and meetings for your field
There are a wide variety of meetups, gatherings and seminars that will put you into direct contact with others in your field of expertise. Be sure to have a supply of updated business cards available. While this may seem like it’s just for fun, many employers attend these events looking for new candidates. Attendance at these events shows a prospective employer that you are ambitious and enthusiastic about your career.
Update your business cards
Instead of your entire physical address, something that is far less important now than in prior eras, use the space to provide links to your social media sites. LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter accounts make it possible for a prospective employer to learn more about you; LinkedIn has an online resume that makes it possible for even more prospective employers to see your skills. You will of course want to include your email address and cellphone number.
Networking is an important step in the job search process and it can be an enjoyable one. So load up a few resumes (depending on the type of gathering), build a stash of business cards, and head out.
The most popular misconception when the economy is less than outstanding is that no one is hiring. It’s actually almost never true that no one is hiring. What is true is that companies tend to streamline when times are tough and while they may not officially be hiring, there is always room for someone with a proven track record. Most job seekers are fully aware that it’s easier to get another job when you already have one and that is never more true than when the economy is down.
The problem is that when you suddenly find yourself without a job it can be tough to both deal with the emotional shock and hit the ground running to find another job as quickly as possible. There is where your previous networking skills as well as an updated resume come into play. You can immediately start looking and contacting people letting them know that you are looking for a job change (think: networking & LinkedIn).
It’s also important to remember that you have a proven record of success and you have been in the business world for a number of years. This immediately places you ahead of many candidates that are recent graduates with no real-world experience. Unfortunately, many young people today do not have the appropriate business skills, and as a result many hiring managers are reluctant to interview them. They have a large pool of seasoned applicants to choose from so they opt for experience. This works in your favor if you have practical experience.
The best way to get a job when no one is hiring is to remember that there is always room for someone who is energetic, driven and has a resume that shows them to be an asset to their employer.
Networking does not always mean social networking. While social networking is good, it’s better to add a personal touch to it by utilizing informational interviews.
An informational interview is where you, as the job seeker, asks for a meeting with someone in charge of a particular company. You are, in essence, interviewing them, not for a job but for information. It’s used to ask questions about the company, advice, and to build on any leads that are presented during the interview process.
Many executives use this approach to build a network of business associates so that they can be kept informed of any new developments and/or job openings that they otherwise might not hear about.
Of course, job interview protocol is still expected during these interviews and includes:
- Research the company well so that you will have informed questions going into the interview.
- Set a date and time that is convenient to the person you are interviewing. Remember they are only helping you and are very busy
- Arrive on time and dress appropriately. This is not the time to be fashionably late.
- Have business cards and be sure to hand one out after introductions.
- Be prepared to end the interview at the scheduled time. If they aren’t ready, then keep going.
- Pay the tab if you are meeting somewhere for coffee or lunch.
- Have a thank you card ready so that you can give it to them as you part.
You never know who or where that awesome job will come from. Who knows, it just may come as a result of an informational interview. They may be so impressed by you and your skills, a new position may very well be created for you. It’s been known to happen.
At the end of the day, you will be proud of yourself because you have realized you really are good at what you do. And, you have built an ever-widening circle of contacts and job search resources that will be there to help you in the future.
Is your current contract about to end? Do you have options once it ends? Everybody has things that they believe will happen, but are those options realistic? If not, then you should start to develop some specific options and have them available by a certain date. Your contract is ending so you need multiple options in case one, or all of them, falls apart.
Your career obviously has options if you’re working on a contract basis, so start searching for the options that fit with your skill set. How many working professionals actually have a clear-cut set path that they would like to follow? How many options do your coworkers have after their job ends?
If you do not have any options once your contract ends, then you need to start developing some career options quick.
Why do you need career options? The job market is tough, but there are still other things that you can do to broaden your horizons. When you have a long-term contract it seems like you don’t need a long list of options, but if you’re working on short-term jobs, then you always have to keep an eye open for something new.
Your career is like a long winding road trip. You may not know the destination but you know where you started from, you know where you want to go, sure there may be detours along the way, but eventually you will want to have a clear destination. If you don’t have all of your options mapped out, then that should be your top goal. So, what are some of your options after your short-term job ends?
1. You could get another short-term contract
If you’ve always had short stays at companies for contract work, then you might be more comfortable working in this manner. This can be a great way to make money and still have your freedom…if you have the stomach for it. And sometimes it can be hard to find another job if your contract ends quickly.
2. Go for a long-term company
If you’re tired of looking for work every 6 months, then why not find a traditional 9 to 5 job? Depending on your chosen field, you could have many different options in a lot of different companies. If you have an accounting degree you’re basically set to work at any company, as long as they need someone to do their taxes, then you’re their person.
3. Try a different profession
What if you feel stagnant during your current work? It doesn’t mean you have to swear off that type of work forever, but you might want to consider a change of scenery. Moving to a different position within your short-term contract employer may provide other options.
4. Extending your contract
If you and your contract employer have a solid working relationship and you like where you’re at, then why not stay there? They obviously could use your talents, so talk to the HR manager about what can be done.
You’ve been looking everywhere for, not just a job, but a career, you want to do something with yourself that enables you to pay your bills but also provides a purpose. But, that’s harder than you imagined in an economy that is only slowly making its way back.
There is no ‘one size fits all’ answer to this question, and there are numerous variables at play that can affect the outcome, and every employer is a little bit different. It seems like it’s impossible to know if you are wasting your time by following up on a resume you have sent, but maybe it’s the thing that will give you a leg up over the other candidates.
It really depends…
In general, it really does depend according to some experts. It depends on how you sent in your application, if you know or can find a contact person, and just how much you actually want the job – is it really worth all the effort you put in? Here are some suggestions that may help when deciding to follow up on a sent resume.
How did you send in your resume?
How did you get your resume to the prospective employer in the first place? Did you have a contact person or did you send it in through an online contact form, or did you send it through the company website job page? If you know someone in the company, you can get help with contacting HR or you can find someone from the company Facebook page and get in touch with them that way. You’re not being creepy, you’re being resourceful.
When should you follow up on your resume?
Some recruiters and placement agencies will advise you to submit a resume, and then follow up with a phone call or email. It can show ambition and enthusiasm, as well as set you apart from other candidates who do not bother to follow up. Employers will like that you are eager to get started and are interested in the position.
But, it is certainly appropriate to send a letter or an email a week or so after you submit your resume, especially if you have not heard anything from the company. Who knows, your resume may have fallen through the cracks and a phone call is just the thing that they need to know how interested you are. But, if you have done a follow up phone call or email after sending a resume, and you have not heard anything for a few weeks, it would be best to conserve your energy and not waste time on something that probably will not happen. There are other opportunities out there for you, so you just have to go and find them.
When you follow up make sure that you are polite. Polite messages reinforce your strong interest in the job, as well as showcasing your ability to handle important topics. Every day people get jobs because they stayed the course and fought for what they wanted, maybe today is your day.
In this new digital age, more and more employers are turning to the Internet for their hiring needs. Whether posting open positions on a company owned website, utilizing job boards or social media, job seekers are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of understanding how to post resumes online. Because of the various formats that are needed, developing a strong portfolio of resumes is critical for those hoping to find the perfect new job.
Take a minute to consider the different forms of resumes. Electronic, print, plain text and full HTML are the most popular options. The reasons for the various forms are simple: prospective employers use a variety of tools to collect and collate resumes. Deciding which is appropriate and properly formatting it is critical for success.
The traditional print resume (like Microsoft Word, for example) often doesn’t translate well online. Because of this job seekers are encouraged to develop a variety of electronic formats for their resume.
- Text: A simple text resume that focuses less on fancy formatting and more on presenting clear details is a must. Resume writers also call this an ASCII (American Standard Code for Information Interchange). This format is ideal for posting resumes into formats on websites. While it is still important to review the post, sticking with a clean text format often removes many of the formatting issues seen.
- Email: Even more basic than the text format, creating an email ready resume takes into consideration line spacing rules often imposed by email providers. Often a simple matter of tweaking a copy of the text resume, creating an email ready version allows you to post your resume directly in the body of an email.
- HTML: As more and more people turn to the Internet for their business needs, many are creating HTML resumes. This is perfect for those that wish to create an electronic portfolio of their work. A word of caution: providing too much information is an easy pitfall of the HTML resume as is simply creating a flashy version of your resume. Only utilize the HTML format if you have basic HTML knowledge.
It is important to acknowledge that where you post your resume online is almost as important as the format it takes. While it may seem like a good idea to attach your resume to a personal website or social media profile, remember that doing so gives potential employers access to all sorts of information that is often best kept private. Marital status, past health issues, ethnicity, political leanings and more can often be found directly on a personal website. It is best to avoid giving potential employers access to this information too early in the process.
In a world where technology is quickly becoming a necessity, not understanding the basic differences in formats is a big mistake. A poorly formatted resume can make you look disinterested and technologically inept. Be sure to spend the appropriate amount of tie developing resume formats to ensure your resume makes the statement you want it to.
Job Searching the Hidden Market
In a climate like the one we are in, it’s easy to feel like we will never find the job we want, or that ‘no one is hiring’. However, you can increase your chances of landing multiple interviews if you can tap into the “hidden” job market, or, the one that hasn’t been advertising. Contacting the companies/contacts directly makes a much more powerful impact then random online resume posting.
How do you do this? Have a plan! This may take a little longer, but it’s the best way to control your job search, land quality interviews and increase your pay scale.
1) Get your online presence together. Chances are, if you are going to be Googling companies, they will Google you. Create a Google profile or a LinkedIn profile and put your brand out there for the employer to see. Show your stuff.
2) Make a list of your target information— industry choice, job position, company listings, etc.
3) Do a Google search on your industry and job titles. There may be quite a few, but you can weed through what you like and don’t like. You can also do a local business search with the same requirements and see what you come up with.
4) Send your resume directly to the hiring person. This is usually the person who is 2-4 levels above where you see yourself within the company. Make sure your cover letter is short and concise.
If this method makes you squirm a little, remember that you will see significantly higher results than you would normally. It’s also good to move beyond your comfort zone. Clients who’ve used it report more interviews, shorter interview cycles and less competition. This also works much better than blindly submitting your resume to lots of job search engines and reduces your anxiety of not knowing if the person who you want to see it really saw it or not.
In the end, it will give you greater job search confidence and renewed excitement about the job search process. Try it and see. Then let me know how it went.
LinkedIn is my favorite networking tool. It is the largest professional networking site with 300 million users. It helps open doors and uncover opportunities on a broad spectrum while building contacts and relationships.
I am constantly asking clients,
“Have you joined LinkedIn yet?” or
“Have you beefed up that LinkedIn profile yet?” or
“If you don’t have the time, let me know and I’ll do it for you— just make sure you do it!”
By now you can probably sense my passion about the site. I’ve only lately become overzealous about LinkedIn because of some very useful information I’ve heard at conferences AND because of the success my clients have had with it.
Did you know that some employers are hiring directly from within LinkedIn? Some are also posting their job openings ONLY on LinkedIn. This is a big deal especially since the majority of these companies are huge.
LinkedIn also has other benefits:
1) Unlimited amount of exposure and visibility of you and your business. “Connect” with as many people as you can. If you are job searching this is a great way to network. Once you start connecting, you become visible on other people’s pages, increasing the chances of getting to the top of a page when people are looking for someone to hire.
2) Use your LinkedIn profile to research companies you would like to work for. Go to the “Companies” tab and type in the name of a company you are interested in. Check and see if they are hiring and inquire!
3) Boost your Search Engine results. If you are a business owner, we all know it’s all about Search Engine Optimization. The great news about LinkedIn is that it allows search engines to index your profile information. Adding your LinkedIn link to your signature line while posting to other sites further strengthens your visibility to the search engines.
This is just a quick version of how LinkedIn can help job seekers and professionals. Create your profile and see for yourself.